Why would you want to become a freelancer?

So what are your top reasons you want to become a freelancer? Feel free to
leave them in the comments section below. I will briefly give you my reasons
for doing it over the next couple of posts.

Be your own boss

The main reason everyone quotes is being fed up with the management at their
current place of work. That may be due to a lot of reasons. For example: Stuck
on boring projects; Can’t work from home sometimes; Don’t have a flexible schedule;
You can’t implement the new and hip technology you read about last week, because
you are stuck doing a VB6 project; And this list goes on and on…

The good parts

Being your own boss can improve that situation a lot, you get to choose the
projects to work on, the clients to work with and the technologies to
implement those projects to some extent. You get to choose when you work, and
where you work from.

The bad parts(not really)

You are your own boss, you are the one to set the working schedule, organize yourself, and
be proactive with work. There is no Boss telling you what you are going to
work on next. Also you will find that you have to work on some other
issues, as you have to run a company right now, a one man company of yourself,
you are your own boss right now, and manager, HR, and marketing. Each client is a kind of
a boss, as you are responsible to them for the work you are contracted to do.

The cure

Hire an accountant, and outsource as much stuff as you can. Time you spend on
learning your skill, they spend on learning their skills. Don’t do everything
by yourself, and remember, always be polite.

Flexible working hours/location

This is also a classic. All the freelancers out there seem to work whenever
they want, wherever they want.

The good parts

You work whenever/wherever you want, you can travel around the country, or
even abroad, and your work won’t suffer, your clients may not even notice that
you are 5000 km away from the place they think you are. But it really doesn’t
matter. Work happens where it happens for you, and it’s in your and your
clients’ best interest to be as productive as you can for them, and for
yourself, of course.

The bad parts

You can work the whole day, there is always something to be done. First you
forget lunch, then you forget your kids big game or play at school, as you
have so much work to do. If you don’t plan your time you will loose your
health/family and everything.

The cure

Make a schedule and stick to it. Being constrained to work 5 or 6 hours each day
makes you the most productive machine there is, because you haven’t got more
time, just those 6 hours each day, so about 30 hours a week.

This is it for this post, I will continue writing on this subject and the
tools to help you while freelancing or being a remote worker.

Build your career (You can do better)

Let’s get this clear, this is not a rant against anyone, this is just a
statement. But you must realize this, it is not easy and this is not a one
week fix. Also, I’m not talking about leaving your job and finding a better
one, but improving yourself as a developer. If that consequently gets you a
better job, be it that way.

The first thing you need to do is decide for yourself that you want to do it.
There are lots of 9-5 developers out there that write their amount of code
while at work, then clock out and they are done. I assume you are not one of
them.

So how do you do it? I don’t know yet. I’m trying to find out just like you
are. Writing a blog is a good thing, so you will learn to articulate
your thoughts, or so they say. Don’t be discouraged by the lack of topics, or
afraid of bad reception, you want people to respond to your work, so you can
improve it and be better at it.

Be constructive while appraising someone’s work, maybe it’s the best they have
it in them, or maybe it could be a start of a great career and you ruin it with
your critic. Talking about that, develop a thick skin, learn a way do
weed out non constructive critic, and take the one you get in a best way
intended. Not everyone is a bestseller writer, or a computer language creator.

Invest yourself into opensource projects, there are
lots of resources on starting out. You can join or even start a local
developers or something_users group, something being a language or framework
you like and use. But first and foremost, you must be open to learn, every day
everything that crosses your path is a chance to learn. I’m not talking about
code or tools or even technology in that sense. If you’ve got the time take a
look at the Passionate Programmer, it’s a great book by Chad Fowler. He is also posting
the chapters free on his blog for people to read. I can’t recommend this book
more.

Learn a new programming language, learn a functional programming language,
make a mobile app, make a desktop app, make a web app, step out of your
comfort zone and take a look how other developers are doing it.

Go outside, take a deep breath, exercise, take care of your health. Read
another book: The Healthy Programmer, and enjoy your life a bit differently than while
sitting in a chair in some cubicle in the middle of nowhere.

Do some freelance work, on the side or full time, that will give you the
opportunity to try out new technologies, learn how to deal with clients, learn
project management, estimating, scheduling and everything you are not doing while
just coding 9-5.

So the conclusion is, learn every day, learn something different, step out of
the box and be yourself, the best you can be. You can leave a dent in the
universe, maybe a small one, but it doesn’t matter. Just try and not be a
drone.